Friend.tech, the blockchain-powered social media app that gained rapid popularity and endorsement from both crypto insiders and mainstream figures, is facing a significant downturn just weeks after its launch.
During its initial days in closed beta earlier this month, Friend.tech demonstrated remarkable success by generating $1.68 million in fees within a week—a metric indicative of user engagement. This surge propelled the app to the top tier of decentralized applications by fees, just shy of Ethereum’s network. However, a sudden turn of events saw Friend.tech drop out of the top 10 applications by fees on Monday, with a mere $161,000 collected in a 24-hour span, according to data from DeFiLlama. Concurrently, the number of transactions on the network plummeted to slightly over 25,000 on Monday, a stark contrast to the peak of half a million transactions recorded a week prior, as reported by Dune analytics.
Challenges and Criticisms: The Factors Behind Friend.tech’s Sudden Downturn
The app’s launch on Coinbase’s layer-2 Base blockchain sparked quick traction among social media influencers and individuals boasting substantial followings. A unique selling point of Friend.tech is its provision for influencers to vend “keys” linked to their profiles, facilitating private messaging access for their supporters.
Prominent personalities like YouTuber Ricky “FaZe Banks” Bengston reportedly generated substantial revenue from Friend.tech. The revenue-sharing arrangement allocated 5% to creators and 5% to the platform each time a key changed hands. A novel feature allowing influencers to share images privately with their Friend.tech followers further contributed to the app’s appeal. Interestingly, the platform also saw a surge in engagement from OnlyFans creators, who priced their Friend.tech keys significantly higher than their content subscriptions on OnlyFans.
Lisandro Rodriguez, a payments risk manager at Coinbase, offered insights into Friend.tech’s decline in a Twitter thread over the weekend. Rodriguez attributed the app’s downturn to a post-influencer-hype landscape dominated by bots, resulting in an unsatisfactory user experience. He also highlighted Friend.tech’s restrictive accessibility, as users can join only with an invite code that earns them points towards an “airdrop.” However, this strategy has been criticized for promoting mass promotion tactics without fostering genuine engagement.
Friend.tech’s Swift Rise and Subsequent Decline: A Rollercoaster Journey
In conclusion, Friend.tech’s promising launch on Coinbase’s Base blockchain was quickly followed by a notable downturn in fees and transaction numbers. While it initially captured attention with unique features and attracted influential users, the app’s current challenges echo concerns raised during its inception. The road ahead for Friend.tech involves addressing these issues and devising sustainable growth strategies that extend beyond initial hype.